Jack Kelsey- One of Our Best
When looking back on the life of Jack Kelsey, it can be said that he was a giant in slumber for the beginning of his career. In his early life he was working for a steel company and was playing on the side for a local team called the Winch Wen. He was not a famous player by any means at this point but he had impressive skill. Jack Kelsey got his big break when a former player for Wales found him playing with Winch Wen. This former players name was Les Morris. Morris was impressed by Jack Kelsey's goalkeeping skills and spoke with Arsenal (which Morris also played for before playing for Wales) about taking Kelsey on the team.
After seeing Kelsey goal tend, Arsenal decided to sign him on the team. At the time, Kelsey would not be a starter because Arsenal already had a goalkeeper by the name of George Swindin. As George was the starter, Kelsey would be the backup and he ended up riding the bench for two years until he finally was called upon to play.
It wasn't until Swindin was injured that Jack Kelsey finally got his big break he had been so patiently waiting for. By his legendary reputation, you would assume he would enter his first game against Charlton Athletic and prove himself the rightful starter for goalkeeper but this was not the case. Arsenal lost the game against Charlton Athletic and as soon as Swindin recovered they restored him to starter for goalkeeper. Jack found himself back on the bench.
This did not stop him though. He further honed his skills and the Arsenal let him return to goal tending in 1952. He was not the starter at this point but rather shared the duties with Swindin. Kelsey ended up goal keeping for a total of 29 times that season and was an overwhelming contributor for the first division title Arsenal won. The following year, 1953, Kelsey had managed to prove himself and was moved to the starter position over Swindin.
Jack Kelsey played as starter for the Arsenal eight straight seasons and eventually became a starter for the Welch team too. Although the Arsenal never won very many trophies, Jack Kelsey was the goalkeeper in 1958 for Wales in the World Cup. This in itself is a trophy because it was Wales' first appearance in the finals for the World Cup. Jack Kelsey did not allow a goal for 70 minutes of the game but eventually Wales lost the game to Brazil, 1-0.
Kelsey continued to play as a magnificent goal keeper for many seasons. It was not until 1962 when he got a back injury against Brazil that he was ultimately forced to retire. After retiring, Jack remained a part of the game as best he could by becoming the Arsenal's commercial manager. To this day Jack Kelsey holds the second highest number of appearances in Arsenal history, a total of 352 appearances.
Plus he is still regarded as one of the best goal keepers in Welsh history!!!.
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